Irving Penn


March 16, 2024 - July 21, 2024    
9:30 am - 5:15 pm


de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, , San Francisco, , California, 94118

Event Type

Step into the World of Irving Penn: Master of Modern Photography

Dive into a captivating journey through the lens of Irving Penn, one of the 20th century’s most influential photographers. This comprehensive exhibition, spanning over 600 words, explores Penn’s revolutionary impact on fashion photography and his masterful ability to capture the essence of his subjects.

As Vogue’s longest-standing contributor, Penn challenged the conventions of his time. Gone were the elaborate sets and dramatic poses. Instead, he embraced a minimalist approach, using neutral backgrounds to bring the models themselves into sharp focus. Through their postures and expressions, their personalities shine through, creating a powerful connection with the viewer.

The exhibition offers a treasure trove of 196 photographs, showcasing Penn’s evolution over a remarkable seven-decade career. Witness his early foray into documentary photography, capturing raw and evocative scenes. Travel through a gallery of iconic portraits, where celebrities like Audrey Hepburn are immortalized in Penn’s signature style.

But Penn’s lens didn’t shy away from everyday life. Explore a section dedicated to workers depicted alongside the tools of their trade, a testament to the dignity of labor. Prepare to be surprised by a series of abstract nudes, where the human form transcends mere physicality and becomes a work of art.

The exhibition takes a fascinating detour into the heart of the San Francisco counterculture movement. Witness a special collection of images capturing the spirit of the Summer of Love. Penn’s camera documents hippies, members of the Hells Angels motorbike club, and local rock legends like the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Whether it’s the timeless elegance of Audrey Hepburn or the raw energy of the Summer of Love, Irving Penn’s photographs possess a timeless quality. This exhibition invites you to explore the depths of his artistry and witness the evolution of a true master of modern photography.

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